Brooks Running Company kicks off 2014 with strong business momentum and laser focus on defining the next 100 years of the run, release from Brooks, comments from Larry Eder

For the past three years, I believe, Jim Weber and a hand picked Brooks manager speak on the state of the running specialty business, early on a Thursday morning of the Winter Outdoor Retailer show. Brooks Running is number one in the performance running business, or as we in the running hood call it, Run Specialty or SR. This project was started by Erin Krause, who heads Brooks PR. It is one of the most unique and it gives Brooks access to key media from throughout the industry. 

The level of competitiveness at the top of the run specialty food chain continues to astound. 

The battle for the top positions, between Brooks, Saucony, ASICS, Mizuno, and New Balance are intense. 

Brooks is a good example of how a brand should work. Brooks is just shy of $500 million in sales in 2013. Jim Weber, President of Brooks, has just reorganized much of the business, with Dan Sheridan overseeing North America, US and newly purchased Canadian operation. Brooks CEO David Bohan has left to start up a European operation, which will be headed in Amsterdam, with Hamish Stewart off to the UK, and Rob Langstaff heading the new Asia group, with still much focus on Japan. 

Jim Weber is bullish on Brooks running. " We have so much potential still in the US, and we have just really begun our business in Europe. There are so many who still do not know who Brooks is." Weber sees that as huge potential. 

Besides the global operations, Weber appointed David Larsen to head footwear and marketing. Larsen, long-time Brooks marketing VP, is enthused about his focus. Anna Cavassa has taken over apparel, where Moving Comfort will focus on technical sportsbras and Brooks Running focusing on technical sports apparel. 

And the key product, so far, technical footwear, is continuing to soar. While the minimalist product across the industry has influenced lightweight, a variety of runners need a variety of running shoes. 

To be a player in this market, one has to lead, not follow. Finding a place where one focuses, building on it, and providing consistent, high quality product and service is much harder than it seems. 

"It is much more important to me for a runner to be wearing Brooks running shoes than for someone doing the lawn." noted JIm Weber. 

Brooks Running Company Kicks Off 2014 with Strong Business Momentum and Laser Focus on Defining the Next 100 Years of the Run

Company Races through 2013 Posting Double-Digit Growth and Earning Industry Accolades

SEATTLE - Jan. 22, 2014

Brooks Running Company, the leader in performance run, is kicking off its centennial year with a clear focus on the future--unveiling a new global headquarters in Seattle, making strategic shifts to foster global growth, and investing in innovation across product lines. Brooks also remains at the forefront of the sport, reporting another year of double-digit growth and industry recognition, propelling it forward in the year to come.

In 2014, Brooks will further cement its position in the Seattle running community, moving into its new deep green headquarters on the popular Burke-Gilman Trail. Its new home will act as the neighborhood trailhead and gathering place for all runners and feature Brooks' first retail concept shop, an experiential showcase for the brand's full product line.

Brooks will also relocate its EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) headquarters to Amsterdam, a move that allows it to deepen ties with runners across the region. Current Brooks President and COO David Bohan will assume the role of President of EMEA, leading the effort to grow the business and execute the company's strategic goals across Europe. Heiner Ibing will serve as Managing Director of the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and aggressively drive its growth in our quest to lead performance running in the largest run market in EMEA. Two long-time company leaders are also relocating from global headquarters to posts abroad. Hamish Stewart joins the UK team as UK Country Manager and Dan Rickfelder takes on the role of Brand Manager, Spain.

In addition, Rob Langstaff has transitioned from the Brooks Board of Advisors to tackle the role of Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific and Latin America Regions. Langstaff will continue to build the brand in Japan, the world's second largest running market, along with leading international business development. In North America, Brooks Canada will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, strengthening its presence in the Canadian running community. 

"2014 will be a huge year for Brooks. We continue to drive strong growth across the globe, and our mission to inspire runners is resonating, as evidenced by our ongoing position as number one at specialty running stores in the U.S.," said Jim Weber, CEO, Brooks Running Company. "We will harness this momentum in the coming year, celebrating Brooks' 100-year anniversary with our employees, partners and runners everywhere; moving to our new global headquarters; and unveiling groundbreaking research and product advancements."

In 2013 Brooks posted a 17 percent increase in revenue growth driven by a 16 percent increase in the U.S. and a 27 percent increase in Europe.

Leisure Trends reports Brooks grew its No. 1 market share position at specialty running account stores (SRAs) nationwide with 29% year-to-date running footwear retail dollar share. Additionally, Leisure Trends reports the neutral running footwear category accounts for 46% of total running shoes sold at SRA year-to-date. The trend toward a more cushioned running experience was also evidenced by the success of the Ravenna, Glycerin, and Ghost, which grew by 72, 53, and 52 percent year-to-date, respectively, according to the company's 2013 fiscal results. Brooks also reported strong growth in its apparel business which grew 16 percent year-over-year, driven by exciting additions to the line and improved performance product.

Sales momentum wasn't the only high point for the company in 2013. Brooks received a variety of awards from editors, wear testers, and industry experts, including:
  • Editor's Choice award from Runner's World for the Ghost 6 for the fourth year in a row.
  • Editor's Choice award from Runner's World for the Cascadia 8.
  • Best Buy award from Runner's World for the PureConnect 2.
  • Best Trail Shoe award from Women's Health for the Cascadia 8.
  • 2013 Vendor of the Year award from the Independent Running Retailers Association (IRRA) for the third year in a row.
  • 2013 Shoe of the Year award from the Independent Running Retailers Association for the Ghost 6.

About Brooks Running Company

Brooks Running Company designs and markets running-specific performance footwear, apparel, and accessories in more than 60 countries worldwide. Brooks' mission is to inspire everyone to run and be active by creating innovative gear that keeps them running longer, farther and faster. Brooks' mission is supported by its Run Happy philosophy, a quest to celebrate and champion the sport of running and all runners everywhere. Founded 1914, Brooks is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and is headquartered in Seattle. VisitWWW.BROOKSRUNNING.COM for more information or follow us on Twitter (@BROOKSRUNNING) and Facebook (WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BROOKSRUNNING).

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